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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 5th day of Running, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 140 > New Series > Turn of the Tide: Part One

Turn of the Tide: Part One

by frostcrystal

No one starts out evil. Something always happens, something to turn them away, to force them down the path toward the darkness. It is the same with the heroes. Somewhere, someplace, sometime, there was an event that threw them into heroism. If not to them, it happens to their parents. If not to their parents, maybe to their friends. No one is totally and completely evil, and no one completely and totally good.

     But something always happens. It just depends on how you deal with it.

~ * ~

"Daddy!" the tiny Aisha kitten cried, running to him. Dienal swept her up into his arms and she giggled as his Skunk fur tickled her cheek.

       His life partner, a young brown Moehog, turned and smiled at him.

       "You're home early, 'Nal," she greeted him.

       He grinned at her, an easy, happy smile that came with joy and bliss. Slitted Aisha eyes were wide with happiness and sparkled with excitement.

       "I've got good news!"

       "Should I sit down?" she teased him.

       "We're moving to the capital, Morguss! Darigan promoted me again!"

       She stared at him, then gave a cry of delight and hurled herself into his arms. "I can't believe it!"

       Dienal lifted his daughter above his head and swung her round in a full circle exultantly. She laughed, a clear, tinkling laughter, not really understanding why her parents were so happy, but they were happy, and that was enough for her.

       "We're moving, Ileiya! Can you imagine that?"

~ * ~

The potion bubbled over and Morguss swore loudly as it burnt her robes.

       Serves you right for daydreaming, she chided herself mentally.

       But it had been such a good memory. What was it now? Eighteen years later? Such a short time for so much to happen.

       She hastily grabbed a nearby pitcher of water, pouring it on the half-finished potion. Wrinkling her nose up at the stench which rose from the small cauldron, she peered in, trying to assess the condition of the pale blue liquid.

       No good. It was beyond repair.

       Morguss swore again, throwing the pitcher across the room. There goes one week of my life, she muttered to herself mentally.

       The old Moehog sighed, then pulled her disheveled robes about her, and busied herself emptying out the cauldron and setting things back in order.

       Then the door creaked open hesitantly.

       "Mother?"

       "Ileiya? What is it?"

       The Aisha girl slid into the room. Ileiya was nineteen years old now. Even in her mutated Darigan form, she was startlingly beautiful. Her purple scales glistened, and her red eyes were huge and piercingly beautiful. The simple lavender dress she wore was torn at the back to permit the spikes on her back to show, and her orange hair cascaded down her back like a small ginger waterfall.

       "Mister Kass wants to see you."

       "Alright. I'll be right along. Have you had your dinner yet?"

       "No, I was going to. Are you coming to eat with me, Mommy?"

       "I'll see if I can."

       "I'll wait for you then."

       She backed out of the room, and Morguss heard her light feet pattering outside the hall corridor. She sighed and continued putting her things away. Neatness, that was the rule. A messy potion-brewer usually got herself destroyed somehow by some freak accident. That was what Kaliph had always told her.

~ * ~

"Put all your things away, now. Remember, neatness! Junith, that potion on the floor, clean it up. Mariana, help her. Kian... yes, Morguss? What is it?"

         The brown Moehog lowered her hoof. "Can I go out early today, sir? I've packed all my things."

         Old Professor Kaliph smiled. "Dienal waiting for you?"

         Nineteen-year old Morguss had blushed, and pawed one hind hoof on the floor. "Well... yes, sir."

         "Very well, if you have finished, you may then go."

~ * ~

Morguss shook her head to clear it of the lingering memories, her thick grey hair flying in any which way. She'd been Professor Kaliph's favorite student. The only one, in fact, to continue with potion brewing after he had taught she and her classmates all he could.

         Everything was neat now. She drew up the hood of her faded reddish-brown robes over her hair, then pulled the curtains shut and surveyed her small laboratory in a satisfied manner.

         Then she turned and went out. Kass would be waiting.

* * *

He looked old. Every time she saw him, she was struck by that fact. No matter the face he presented to the world, in private, weary lines creased his furred and feathered face, and he looked suddenly years older than he was.

         They'd been friends in childhood, all three of them, Kass always tagging along behind she and Dienal, hero-worshiping them almost. As he'd grown up, so had they, and they'd slowly grown apart until Dienal had... no, she wouldn't think about that. She wouldn't. Morguss pushed the thoughts from her mind firmly. She wouldn't.

         "You called, Kass?"

         "Yes, I did."

         Silence hung in the air.

         "What do you want now?"

         Kass sighed. "Galgaroth is being awfully stubborn."

         "And?"

         "I don't know. I don't really want to kill him, Morguss. He's a bit too clever to be wasted just like that."

         Her eyes bore into him. "There's more than that, isn't there? Nostalgia, Kass? That didn't seem to bother you much with Vex."

         He sighed again. "I liked Galgaroth better than Vex, Morguss. He was someone whom I used to look up to, after all... and so were you."

         "You don't look up to him anymore, do you?"

         "No, but... still..."

         "Still what?"

         "Never mind, Morguss. Never mind."

         They were silent for a while. Then Kass spoke, softly as if trying to hide from the shame.

         "The Three are displeased with me."

         "What?"

         "They aren't happy with the way things are going. Said I wasn't good enough. What more can I do?" he burst out.

         Morguss looked troubled. "I don't know," she acknowledged. "I'll think about it tonight."

         He nodded. "Thanks."

         She did not reply, just got up and left, her hood shadowing her face. Kass buried his face in his paws. "What more can I do?"

* * *

Ileiya was waiting for her in the small dining room that adjoined their separate quarters. "Mother!" she chirped.

         Morguss smiled wearily, seating herself. Despite everything, her daughter was somehow still so very sunny, so happy. Perhaps it was because she couldn't remember what had happened before. Morguss had never told her.

         "We'll need to continue your studies today."

         The girl made a pout. "But..."

         "You don't want to be stupid, do you?"

         "Well, no.... but..."

         "There you go."

         Ileiya sighed and began her meal.

         They were silent for a long while. Morguss found her eyes drifting back to her child's face. Although Ileiya was now Darigan, she still looked like her father... so much like her father. Before the Orb had been stolen and her soft chocolate fur and luminous green eyes had changed. Before the thieves had come. While her father was still alive.

~ * ~

Dienal had bid her goodbye that morning. But Morguss pleaded with him not to go.

         "Why not?"

         "I don't know, 'Nal. I just... I've got a bad feeling about today. Don't go, 'Nal. Please!"

         He kissed her on the cheek. "Don't worry, honey. Nothing's going to happen. We're a peaceful land, remember?"

         She nodded reluctantly as he had said his goodbyes to Ileiya, then three years old. She had smiled innocently up at him, busily playing with one of her toys.

         Then he had left. And she'd never seen him alive again.

* * *

Dienal had arrived at the cheerful, airy castle quite early that morning. He was high in the ranks of the government, one of Darigan's top administrators.

         It had all gone well that day. He'd forgotten about what Morguss had told him. After all, she'd had these 'feelings' before. Something bad usually happened, but not always.

         "Lord Darigan wants to speak with you," one of his aides told him. He nodded and smiled at the young Blumaroo. "Guess I'd better go now."

         He met his Lord in the small garden outside. The light of the Orb shone, illuminating the vibrant green grass and the other pets around it. In the days long ago, Darigan had been a handsome Korbat, his skin creamy white, the ends of his muzzle constantly twisted up in a smile and his robes intertwined with golden thread at the hem.

         "My Lord," Dienal greeted him respectfully.

         "No need to stand on ceremony, old friend," Darigan told him, smiling slightly. "This year's produce has been unusually good, I see. What have you been doing?"

         Dienal laughed. "Nothing much really."

         "You understate yourself. Reports from the farmers tell me that you introduced this new pipe sort of thing into their fields to supply water."

         "Well, it was only logical, my Lord. After all--"

         Darigan cut him off with a good-natured wave of a clawed paw. "I think you deserve a promotion, Dienal. It's been too long since you've had one anyway." He clapped his paw down on the skunk Aisha's shoulder. "Give me a day or so to think about what you should get."

         "But my Lord, I don't deserve this," Dienal objected.

         "Nonsense. You're one of the best people in my kingdom. Hasn't anyone ever told you that?"

         Dienal was grinning broadly as he walked back up the path and into the building. To think! A promotion! And all for that little idea he'd expanded. Perhaps...

         Then a cry echoed through the hallways. Dienal was outside in an instant.

         Darigan was frantic, running towards him. Then he noticed the intruders.

         It appeared that they were mounted on Unis, something strange to him. They also wore metal on their bodies. And in the hand of one of them was the Orb. The Orb that guarded, protected Darigan Citadel. And the crumpled bodies of some of the people who had tried to fight littering the path both before them when they had gone in, and behind them as they were trying to get out.

         Thieves! Unconsciously, Dienal found himself running forward, placing himself in their path, just before the gate that led outside. He snatched a sword from one of the fallen, but his heart quailed. He was untrained in battle, had never held a weapon before. But others were coming and if only he could hold them off long enough...

To be continued...

Author's note: Dienal pronounced 'Day-narl'. Feel free to Neomail! Me likes mail.

Previous Episodes

Turn of the Tide: Part Two

Turn of the Tide: Part Three


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